opioid abuse

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

Calling it an “industry wide conspiracy,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his intention to file a lawsuit for the over prescription of opioids that he says has defrauded  New Yorkers out of  billions of dollars.


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Central New York’s rural counties are among some of the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, so the state senate is bringing its task force to Madison County Monday to focus on the challenges facing outlying communities.  One of those attending the roundtable discussion is Susan Jenkins, Executive Director of BRiDGES, the Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.  She says what might work in cities doesn’t always make sense in the country.

Scott Willis/WAER News

An investigation that began over a year ago in St. Lawrence County culminated Thursday morning with the indictment of 65 people as part of two drug rings in central and upstate New York.  Attorney General Letitia James says they trafficked heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine through Onondaga, Oneida, and other counties from sources in New York City and New Jersey.  James says surveillance techniques were instrumental in finding those connected to the operation.

Scott Willis / WAER News

At 2:30 Thursday afternoon, the first three defendants appeared before a judge in what amounts to a new emergency court aimed at quickly helping those addicted to opioids.   The focus  of the Syracuse Opioid Intervention Court is on treatment rather than sending people to prison.  


H.E.A.L. of Onondaga County

Organizers of the first-ever Heroin Awareness Walk in Onondaga County are hoping for a big turnout Saturday to help to reduce the stigma associated with addiction.  Recovering addicts, their families, treatment experts, and the community will gather in front of Syracuse City Hall.

Michaline Younis says she has both professional and personal reasons to be heading up the effort.

I’ve been in the field of treatment for 16 years.  We recently lost someone very close to us two years ago from a fentanyl overdose.  And my brother was heroin addicted for 13 years.”

John Smith / WAER News

A local agency is changing how much of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan it distributes. The State is now offering a Nacan Co-Payment Program that aims to get more kits into the hands of families, friends and opioid drug users.  ACR Health distributed 750 kits from the state last year, which the agency says resulted in saving at least 52 people.  Overdose Prevention Coordinator Kevin Donovan says most pharmacy chains participate in the state’s program.

narcan.com

There’s no question the overdose antidote Narcan has saved the lives of numerous heroin and opioid addicts across Central New York.  In the next part of our series on the epidemic, seasoned paramedics say it can be a blessing…and a curse.

For most of us, a near death experience from a serious health issue or an accident would force a change in lifestyle or behavior.  But Director of Operations with TLC ambulance Lon Fricano says for addicts who might have just overdosed on heroin, they feel they’re going to die if they don’t get that next fix.